By Dylan Hackett, News Editor
With the summer jobs season around the corner, the Douglas College Co-operative Education Office is gearing to place students in a wide variety of co-op jobs, ranging from positions in the tobacco industry to BC Hydro, or even locally within New Westminster.
Every semester, placement officer Lianne Johnston recruits new students to join the co-op pool. These students have to be in one of the 10 programs in the three school faculties and they must have completed 18 credits, with an average GPA of 2.23. They also have to take time off from their studies, of which there are 80 students this semester. Students are often placed within co-ops relating to their studies—national statistics read that 82 per cent of those employed in co-ops were placed in jobs “very” and “somewhat” compatible with their field of study.
“What differentiates co-ops from other intern and unpaid jobs is that they’re full-time, paid positions. Students earn additive credits—these credits don’t replace any of their required breadth or elective courses,” explained Johnstone. “If they complete two co-ops in their diploma, they receive that on their transcript, and three if they’re in a degree program. Our goal is to set students apart so when they do finish their programs, they not only have the credentials but the experience.”
For some students, co-ops are more than just a credit-earning summer job. Co-ops can be utilized as valuable networking opportunities for students. A second-term Douglas co-op student was hired on full-time by Saputo, Canada’s largest dairy processer, this year after an astounding performance in a co-op role.
“It has been a positive experience and has certainly opened the door for the future,” said Saputo warehouse manager Steven Siteman.
The Co-operative Education Office currently consists only of Johnston, but there are talks among senior management to consolidate the office into a career services resource, with graduate job placement services and co-op in one area.
“This semester we placed 12 students, last semester nine. It sounds small but a lot of the students in the pool don’t realize the time and effort required. It’s the students’ job to be actively looking on the job board,” explained Johnston.
For access to the job board and co-op services, Johnston can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visited in the Office of Co-operative Education on the second floor of the New Westminster campus.